1. Questionable

    Lawmakers Trade on Affected Companies

    House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi of Calif., listens as Rep. Chris Van Hollen, D-Md., ranking member on the House Budget Committee, speaks during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, April 7, 2011. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

    Alex Brandon / AP Photos

    Last year Peter Schweizer, a research fellow at the Hoover Institution, was struck by the fact that lawmakers are free to buy and sell stocks in companies affected by the government policies they themselves write. Curious whether they acted on their insider knowledge, Schweizer delved into a trove of public databases and discovered that, yes, they certainly seem to. Newsweek’s Peter J. Boyer points out how lawmakers from John Kerry and Nancy Pelosi to John Boehner and Spencer Bachus make thousands of dollars by buying and selling stocks before legislation drives them up or down. For example, in 2009, John Boehner bought health-insurance stock while Congress was debating the public option. Nancy Pelosi participated in eight initial public offerings in 2008, including Visa Inc., while debating legislation that would have affected the credit-card industry. None of these deals are considered illegal, because insider-trading laws do not apply to members of Congress.

    Read it at Newsweek